PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5 ) - There is a lot of controversy surrounding the drug ivermectin and COVID-19. It's flying off pet feed store shelves in the Valley, even though the FDA and CDC said don't use it because it could be dangerous for you. While some doctors have prescribed it, other doctors said there isn't enough proof yet whether it's effective or at what dose.
At the Western Ranchman animal feed store in Phoenix, the shelf where they keep the ivermectin is empty. "It goes off so fast now that we can't even get it because our suppliers are out," said Dottie Francisco.
Francisco, whose family has owned the shop for 55 years, has never seen this before. She said normally they'd order a couple of dozen packs of the drug and that would last a month. Now, they're ordering cases of 100 that are gone in a couple of weeks, and the phone calls about the horse de-wormer are constant.
"Probably about 10-15 a day looking for it," said Francisco. This is extremely concerning for doctors. "That, you know, is insanity. If you don't get it from a physician, you shouldn't be going out and getting it on your own," said Dr. Sam Durrani, chief of staff at Deer Valley Medical Center.
Durrani said most doctors still feel this anti-parasitic drug isn't proven to work as a COVID-19 treatment, but there are some pushing for it. "They're actually good doctors and well-respected in the field, and they're the ones saying it works and pushing for it, but they're the ones, it's on them to show the rest of the world the data," Durrani said. "I'm not saying it doesn't work. There's just no proof it works and no evidence that it actually doesn't harm people."
But some people believe it could work. "I had a few friends that recommended that we reach out to the doctor about this Z pack ivermectin combo," said Tim San Felice.
Tim started asking about it when his husband Tony San Felice came down with a serious case of COVID-19 after being vaccinated. Tony San Felice has Lyme disease, which parasite infections are associated with, so that played a factor in his doctor prescribing him a proper dose of ivermectin, and Tony San Felice does believe it helped him.
"This is prescribed for people. It's not a prescription for animals. This was a dosage and researched appropriate use of ivermectin for me," said Tony San Felice. "We didn't want the Lyme to flare up in addition to COVID because it probably would have killed me."
Dr. Durrani stressed that the vaccine is really the best way to combat COVID-19, no matter what. He also said in the hospitals they're using monoclonal antibodies and certain steroids that are proven to help with COVID-19 treatment.